This month’s Volunteer of the Month is special and not only because she’s always extremely stylish. This valued Volunteer of the Month is our very own Jenny Howard! Before she was the Director of Planned Giving and Regional Director, Central States, she began here at 826michigan as a tutoring intern back in 2008. Throughout her years here, Jenny has done it all. She worked through algebra formulas with students during tutoring, led whimsical workshops, and so much more. But of course, most importantly, Jenny has worked with so many of our students to harness the power of writing and share their stories with the world. Not only has she made an impact on our students, but to our staff as well. So just in case you need extra proof of how great Jenny is, here are several things people have said about her:
“We are so grateful for Jenny’s incredible contributions. She brought a significant amount of value to our fundraising capacity, she helped to lead our organization with enormous enthusiasm, and continues to cheer us on even in her next chapter. We love you, Jenny!” –Naimah Wade, 826michigan Executive Director
“During her time at 826michigan, Jenny Howard was a bright light of certainty—a guiding hand on the board of directors and a thoughtful, empathetic tutor in one-on-one student interactions. There are rare times when a person simply fits with an organization, complementing its work and strengthening it. Jenny’s time with us felt that way every day, even as we grew and changed and our needs and her many gifts to us did, too.” –Amanda Uhle, former 826michigan Executive Director
“Jenny is really special and kind and a great listener and friend. She roots for everyone, always (except true jerks, them she fights). She also is so smart and funny and writes excellent thank-you notes. She has always made me feel truly loved and valued.” -Amy Sumerton, former 826michigan Program Director
“From my first days as a volunteer at 826michigan, Jenny has made me feel welcomed and included. She takes the time to give her full attention to whomever she is talking with, listening deeply and connecting authentically. She embodies the approach of the respect, enthusiasm, and engagement we uphold at our organization. Over the last ten years, I have watched Jenny work with dedication to support and celebrate 826michigan and our students. I am so grateful to know Jenny and I know she will continue to cheerlead 826michigan in her next exciting chapter!” -Frances Martin, Operations Director
“It’s difficult to imagine 826michigan without Jenny Howard — the two are very much a part of each other. Jenny welcomed me to 826michigan when I first started volunteering, and, as she has done for so many, helped me to feel like this was a place where I could belong, and where my ideas and energy would be valued. In addition to championing our work in the community for more than a decade, Jenny has been a stellar support to programs, where she has tutored, trained volunteers, and led writing workshops, including our letter-writing programs through which students sent their ideas to then-incoming President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. During that workshop, a student famously wrote to Michelle Obama “Do what you can and it’ll be perfect. My favorite game is Apples to Apples. Wouldn’t it be awesome if pickles grew on trees?” Jenny has done so much for 826michigan and it has been perfect. She is as legendary and as awesome around here as pickles growing on trees.” – Catherine Calabro Cavin, Education Director
After nine wonderful years of being a Board member and more than ten years of being an incredibly dedicated and active advocate of 826michigan, Jenny is starting a new chapter and leaving as a member of our Board. 826 has been deeply shaped by your contributions. Jenny, with the utmost gratitude, we thank you for your warmth, kindness, and for always being one of our biggest supporters.